require the court to grant leave to amend. Therefore, plaintiff's motion for leave to amend is denied.
The court's consideration of plaintiff's motion is guided by New York's doctrine of res judicata, which the court is obliged to apply in this case. See 28 U.S.C. § 1738 (1988); Migra v. Warren City School Distr., 465 U.S. 75, 81, 79 L. Ed. 2d 56, 104 S. Ct. 892 (1984). Under New York law, "once a claim [has been] brought to a final conclusion, all other claims arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions are barred, even if based upon different theories or if seeking a different remedy." O'Brien v. City of Syracuse, 54 N.Y.2d 353, 445 N.Y.S.2d 687, 688, 429 N.E.2d 1158 (Ct. App. 1981) (New York application of "transactional analysis") (emphasis added). Res judicata, however, operates to bar only those claims which could have been raised in a prior proceeding; it does not bar litigation of claims over which the prior tribunal was without authority to adjudicate. E.g. Antonsen v. Ward, 943 F.2d 198, 201 (2d Cir. 1991); Davidson v. Capuano, 792 F.2d 275, 278 (2d Cir. 1986).
In McLaughlin I, this court held that plaintiff's instant Title VII action is not barred by res judicata, reasoning that plaintiff could not have litigated her Title VII claim in the prior state court proceeding. Plaintiff could not have raised her Title VII claim in state court because she was still awaiting her "right to sue" letter from the EEOC when she commenced her state court action. Receipt of a "right to sue" letter from the EEOC is a jurisdictional prerequisite to initiating a claim under Title VII; since plaintiff did not have a letter, she could not litigate her Title VII claims in state court. Hence, res judicata could not bar plaintiff's subsequent Title VII action in this court. McLaughlin I, 739 F. Supp. at 107.
The same cannot be said about plaintiff's proposed § 1983 and constitutional claims. Unlike Title VII, neither § 1983 nor the United States Constitution has an administrative prerequisite to bringing suit thereunder. Therefore, plaintiff could have raised these claims in the prior state court proceeding. Moreover, plaintiff should have raised her proposed claims in state court. By plaintiff's own admission, both of her proposed claims arise out of the same facts, conduct, transactions, and occurrences as were alleged in her original complaint in this action. Honeywell Aff. (12/18/90), at P9. Yet, as this court noted in McLaughlin I, "many of the same facts which have been alleged in the Title VII action in federal court served as the basis for the state tort suit." 739 F. Supp. at 103. Therefore, as a matter of logic, many of the transactions and occurrences giving rise to plaintiff's proposed amended claims are the same as those raised in her state tort suit, which reached a final conclusion on the merits. Since plaintiff's proposed claims arise from the same transactions and occurrences as those raised in her state court action, and she could have raised them in the state court proceeding, plaintiff is precluded from litigating those claims in this proceeding. The fact that plaintiff seeks relief or remedy under an alternative theory is irrelevant. See Migra, 465 U.S. at 81; O'Brien, 445 N.Y.S.2d at 688.
Plaintiff contends that her claims arising from her employment at the QWL Committee were not litigated on the merits at the state court level, and therefore she should not be precluded from raising them here. She points in part to the dicta in Justice Hughes's state court opinion, that "[the question of] damages caused to the plaintiff as a result of sex discrimination will be addressed by the Division of Human Rights," and therefore not by the state court. See McLaughlin I, 739 F. Supp. at 97 (quoting Vol. I, State Court Record, at 7).
Plaintiff's argument to this effect is without merit because it confuses res judicata with collateral estoppel. Under res judicata analysis, which is the sole basis for today's decision, there are only three relevant and dispositive facts: (1) plaintiff's state claims arose from the same "transactions or occurrences" as her proposed federal claims; (2) plaintiff could have raised her proposed federal claims at the state court proceeding; and (3) plaintiff failed to do so. The fact that Justice Hughes did not actually rule on the merits of plaintiff's harassment claims, and instead deferred to the DHR, is of no consequence under New York's transactional approach. Plaintiff is precluded from raising her § 1983 claim in this court because she had the opportunity to, but did not, bring a § 1983 claim concurrently with her other claims in state court, and the state action reached a conclusion on the merits.
As stated above, justice does not require the court to grant plaintiff leave to amend her complaint to add futile claims. Foman, 371 U.S. at 182. In light of the preclusive effect of her state court suit on the present action, plaintiff's motion to amend would be futile. Accordingly, plaintiff's motion for leave to amend is denied with prejudice.
Defendants' motion for reconsideration is denied. Defendants' motion for summary judgment is denied without prejudice, pending discovery pursuant to the terms set forth in this memorandum. Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend her complaint is denied.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: March 5, 1992
Syracuse, New York
Neal P. McCurn, Chief Judge
United States District Court
Northern District of New York